Representations of social justice in children: capabilities, well-being, and social justice-oriented citizens.

Maldonado-Rico, Antonio F. (1); Jacott, Liliana (1); Perez-Manjarrez, Everardo (1); Sainz, Vanesa (1); Plasencia, Martin (2); Garcia, Tatiana (1); Juanes, Almudena (1); Barreiro, Alicia (3); Agustín, Santiago (1) (2016). 'Representations of social justice in children: capabilities, well-being, and social justice-oriented citizens.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

This paper is devoted to present different contributions carried out mainly by a group of researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas (México) to study of the relationship between social justice and capability views. Some of the work presented here are part of a research project that is being carried out by our interdisciplinary research group (GICE: Educational Change for Social Justice) “Schools in socio-economically challenging contexts: An approach from Education for Social Justice” (EDU2014-56118-P), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the State Program for the Promotion of Scientific and Technical Research Excellence. In this paper we will show and discuss a general framework in relation with the study, understanding, and promotion of social justice in education from developmental, contextual and capability views and a set of research results (Jacott et al 2014) For us, the three dimensions of social justice proposed by Fraser (2008), redistibution, recognition, and representation, could be seen as means to accomplish the minimum achievement of all the capabilities described by Nussbaum (20013) in order to reach the fulfillment of human dignity. In addition we also include in our model two more important elements: a social well-being dimension (Prilleltensky, 2014) that is constructed in specific social and cultural contexts and a basic approach in education towards social justice-oriented citizens (Westheimer, 2015). We will show the main results of a series of studies about the representations of social justice in primary, secondary and undergraduate students, and also of teachers. In these, we use semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and focus-groups.
We present results mainly from two  empirical research. In the  first study we explores ideas of Primary school students about Social Justice in Madrid and Buenos Aires, Specifically, we have studied these ideas in students of 4th (9-10 years old) and 6th grade (11-12 years old) of four public schools of Primary education in Madrid and Buenos Aires (758 children). The instruments used had been a questionnaire and an interview, which consisted of a set of dilemmas about hypothetical situations. The participants had to make a decision between three possible alternatives (in the questionnaire), or proposed a solution for the raised dilemma (interview). The main results obtained in the questionnaires indicate statistically significant differences by gender, grade and country of participants with respect the dimensions of recognition and representation as well as in the global index of social justice. These results show that girls and students of 11-12 years old,  have a more commitment in relation to social justice than boys and students of 9-10 years old. We also found some differences between participants from Madrid and Buenos Aires.
In the second study we have analysed the representations that students and teachers have about Social Justice in 20 secondary schools from different regions of Spain. We applied a Social Justice Representations Questionnaire (SJRQ) to a sample of 3229 high school students, 207 in-service teachers and 683 pre-service teachers. The questionnaire includes a set of dilemmas about the three main dimensions of Social Justice: Redistribution, Recognition and Representation. The results show a good reliability of our instrument and significant differences in social justice conceptions regarding level of education, age and gender. These results demonstrate a developmental and a gender trend and also differences between students and teachers in their representations of the three dimensions of Social Justice.
We will try to show the main characteristics of this view in relation to construction of a interstitial framework between developmental changes in the representations of social justice and the design of dilemmas to study the children and adolescents representation of capabilities, an also in relation to the design and implementation of educative activities and good practices.
Keywords: children, social justice, redistribution, recognition, participation.

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